CUMMING, Ga. — The success of Lenny’s Sub Shops’ two locations — Alpharetta and Cumming — have followed a formula that owner Bruce Longmore says he will continue to apply.
Give and network.
“The more we gave, the better our store did,” Longmore said. “Other than networking and giving to charities, we haven’t really marketed our business in any sizable way.”
Longmore, 50, bought the existing Lenny’s Sub Shop on Windward Parkway in Alpharetta five years ago. Six months later, he bought the Market Place Boulevard location in Cumming.
He was glad he did.
When he bought the Cumming location, it was doing about $12,000 a week in revenue. Now they regularly bring in $21,000 and more per week.
The change happened after Longmore read a book, Jeffrey Gitomer’s “Little Black Book of Connections,” a book about networking. Longmore joined the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club and Network for Success. Through the networking, group after group called him up when they needed food.
“We rarely give money; we feed the people or if they are going to do a charity golf tournament, I’ll give them silent auction catering,” Longmore said. “To schools, we feed the different teams.”
Through Rotary and through the chamber, Longmore started getting to know people in the community.
As far as community charities go, Longmore has donated nearly $50,000 in food to thousands of locals through dozens of nonprofit organizations. The Stick it 2 Cancer organization has been a big community partner with Longmore.
“So many different charitable organizations,” Longmore said. “We always felt like that was a good way to give back, and we’ve done that.”
They won the chamber’s “2012 Small Business of the Year,” and his Cumming store is in the top three in the country as far as annual revenue. The store brings in about $1 million a year, while the Alpharetta store, near Ga. 400 and exit 11 brings about $400,000 in revenue.
The biggest difference, Longmore said, is that the Market Place Boulevard store in Cumming store does well at night and the weekends. The Alpharetta location does better with business people who stop in for lunch.
He has his eyes set around North Georgia Premium Outlets Mall in Dawsonville and the Dahlonega campus area near North Georgia College and State University.
Longmore has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. He owned an underground sprinkler system throughout high school and college.
After college, he got caught up in the corporate environment. Prior to owning Lenny’s, Longmore worked for 13 years as a medical software sales representative.
He now runs the business with his wife, Donna, and three of his five children, who also work with helping the business grow.
“We have learned that the key to small business success is concentrating efforts on what business owners can do for the community and not the other way around,” Longmore said. “The biggest surprise to me is the sense of family pride. Now, we are part of this community.”